Apr 12
chromestar210 , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Stubborn Dad and his Ticker

My dad is 67 years old, on March 31st he had a heart attack.  He thought it was "brain freeze" but in his chest, fortunately had the wits to go to the hospital.   My dad is also a bachelor, who lives 3 hours away from his closest relatives.   He doesn't cook, and what he does eat is not great--he definitely isn't one to sit down to a salad.   The closest thing he comes to eating vegetables are the ones on his burgers or the little side lettuce on his enchilada plates.   He's also diabetic, and loves sweet tea and soda.   Even though he knows all of his health issues, he still eats like a teenager and refuses to take his medication---some hippie friend in his folk dance group told him that as long as he's working out and taking some herbal suppliment he doesn't need his medication! (insert head smack here)    This is how we ended up with an emergency call on March 31st---not how I really wanted to spend my weekend, and I'm sure he didn't want to spend his at the hospital either.   On April 7th, he went in for a quadruple bypass only to have it be upgraded to a quintuple bypass.    He's stubborn--he wants his cheese burgers and to start driving again.   He also has a crazy girlfriend, who I have a feeling will definitely not support him in his heathly eating plan---she was eating cheese enchiladas in the hospital room and drinking sodas in front of him.  She's another nightmare, but I'm not too concerned about her.   Needless to say, my siblings and I are currently having a very difficult time getting across to our dad how much he means to not only us, but also his grandchildren.   We really want him to be around for a very long time---he just doesn't seem to care.    It's hard.    Anyone else ever experience this situation?  There are times I'm at a complete loss with him.  He'll be released from the hospital this Friday, and my brother will be living with him for the next three months, but after that---we're at a loss.
  • Graymatter
    I can empathize with your frustration,as I have a brother who's 6'1"and rapidly closing in on 400 lbs!! Before my smoking habit was broken,he relentlessly hammered me about smoking!! In 2002 while waiting on a fire to happen in the kitchen at Engine 55/Ladder 27 watching CNN it stated that the Surgeon General had JUST declared that obesity had SURPASSED smoking as the number ONE cause of heart-disease and subsequent death domestic AND abroad!! He also takes a cavalier attitude about the dangers of his weight,and eats AS he will,as OFTEN as he CAN!! So,you might try the tactic I enlisted and convey to him,that it isn't ONLY about him,but that MANY loved ones woukd be adversely affected by his demise,and that he should consider THEM,if he has little regard about his own well-being!!
  • fluffy
    You Dad won't be an easy one to 'convert' to an healthier lifestyle....As you already know, it's not possible to 'make' someone change or even care to change. My prayer for your family, is to surround your father with love, and with you frequent presence. What a kind and caring brother you have, to care for your Dad for three months....That's terrific! The only way to your father's 'heart' (very bad pun) and through his stubborn, hardheadedness, is....through love. Let me see the grandchildren often, be with him as much as you can, write or call him when you cannot be there in person......Try to ignore (benevolently) the uninformed girlfriend, just connect with you Dad in all meaningful ways.....The only possible way for him to change, is to "want to be around" for those he feels an immense love and connection to: that's you and your family. Not with scolding, or warning, or chastisement, but....with love and the closeness of your presence. Good luck and God speed......If all the love fails to shift your father to healthier living, it will still be worth it to build up the memories of love.....
  • AHAASAKatie
    I am so sorry that everyone in your family is having to deal with this. As the adult daughter of a two very stubborn parents in their late 70's I am smacking my head along side yours. I am sharing a few links for you. One is about post heart attack info and the other is about caregiving. My hope is that this information will help your family work through what you can and cannot change and control in his life. Please come often and share, we are here for all of you through this time. Best Katie Post Heart Attack Link http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/Heart-Attack_UCM_001092_SubHomePage.jsp Caregiving Link http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Support/Resources-For-Caregivers_UCM_301850_Article.jsp#.WO-CgPnyvIU
  • knowbetterdobetter
    Love on him as much as you, for as long as you can. When you're with him, you can cook healthy tasty meals and offer them to him, as well as his girlfriend. Have your brother do the same, since he will be living with him. When he makes a change like cutting back on fried foods or decreasing his salt intake acknowledge it! Celebrate with him. It's a lot to learn and I'm sure he wants to be around but it sounds like he may even be in denial. Have faith and never give up on him. Whatever you do, do it in love and show him that love. Take care of you too!
  • NicGriffin
    that must be so frustrating! When you know your loved one is doing something so dangerous for their health and wellbeing yet they still do it. I know I find myself getting so angry sometimes wanting to scream "do you just not care????" At the end of the day, you can only do what you can do, we cannot control every situation. I think you're right to show him how precious life is with him in it to not only you but to your grandbabies, maybe work out a deal with him where if he eats healthy for x amount of days, he can have a reward of his favorite food. I think the idea of going cold turkey would scare anyone, so maybe working something out like that would be helpful! keep us posted on his progress and his situation!
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